The company behind Ghostery, a privacy-focused browser and an ad-blocking browser extension, has apologized for a technical error that occurred last Friday when its staff was sending out GDPR-themed notification emails.
According to numerous user reports, Ghostery sent out emails that exposed the addresses of other users.
The emails were sent to batches of 500 users at the same time, and every user in each batch was able to see the email addresses of the other users.
Ghostery is off to a great start. pic.twitter.com/N9x2fOoPnw— Dan Previte (@dprevite) May 25, 2018
you cannot make this up: the privacy driven Chrome extension @Ghostery for blocking third-party trackers has done its GDPR mass email exposing all(?) of its users in the email TO: field!! pic.twitter.com/m4R14q7QqP— Matt (@matthewherod) May 26, 2018
Ghostery realized the error on Friday, and after an investigation, explained on Saturday that the error was caused by an operator's mistake working with their new self-hosted email delivery platform for the first time.
The company said it stopped email sending operations as soon as it realized what it happened, and published on Saturday instructions on how users could delete their Ghostery accounts. Ghostery profiles aren't mandatory for using Ghostery, so deleting accounts won't affect the company's products in any way.
Ironically, the incident caused Ghostery to break GDPR, a new user and data privacy regulation that come into effect in the EU last Friday, May 25, 2018 [Wikipedia article detailing protections; actual GDPR text].
The incident isn't as bad as it sounds, as only email addresses were exposed. It's more funny than an actual security breach.
Ghostery said it plans to report the incident to EU authorities, as the new GDPR directive mandates. While there's no way to accurately verify this, Ghostery may actually be the first company that reports a breach under the new GDPR rules.
Image credits: Ghostery